It's Not Easy Being Orange

As much as Kermit complains, orange is the least popular color in my classroom. At the end of the school year, my other colors run low, but I always have dozens of orange markers to push on my kids. "Orange?" One student responded, "Gross."

I disagree. My favorite crayon is a yellow orange. Used alone or on top of other colors, it makes any drawing or portion of a drawing seem sunkissed.

In an effort to work some orange back into my students' palettes, I tried a small experiment. I gathered my unused orange crayons, and I distributed them like gold stars at the end of each class. Well behaved students received one orange crayon. Especially helpful students got two. Misbehaving students got half. The fact that I had enough crayons to do this every class for an entire year is evidence of how long and how deep the students' prejudice had grown.

"Why do you always give orange crayons?" The students complained. Orange is the new gold, I answered. "No, it's not," They rolled their eyes.

Pretty quickly though, their tastes changed. First, the kids hoarded their orange crayons. They saved the ones I gave them, and they gathered the ones we used in class. Then, of course, they used them in their drawings. They thought of orange for their paintings and their sculptures too. They even got cranky when our orange supplies ran low. "Where did all our orange markers go?!"

This drawing is my portrait of the dixie cup full of orange crayons that my students learned to covet. I don't know if aesthetics, fashion, or economics triumphed here, but orange is beautiful in my classes now, and I feel some pride when I see my students' artwork rich with it.

© 2012 rama hughes